What happened

Shares of Novavax (NVAX 9.11%) were jumping 10.4% higher as of 3:45 p.m. EDT on Wednesday after rising as much as 20.8% earlier in the day. How did Novavax stock perform so well while the overall stock market crashed yet again due to increasing worries about the coronavirus pandemic?

Investors appear to be optimistic about the prospects for Novavax to report positive results from its late-stage study of experimental flu vaccine NanoFlu. It also helps that the company is one of several drugmakers scrambling to test experimental COVID-19 vaccines.

Female healthcare professional holding a syringe and vaccine bottle

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Any day now, Novavax could announce the results from its phase 3 clinical study evaluating nanoparticle-based flu vaccine NanoFlu. The vaccine demonstrated positive results in earlier clinical trials. NanoFlu holds the potential to be more effective than other flu vaccines that have already been approved.

The company also hopes to begin a phase 1 clinical study of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in either May or June. Novavax is currently evaluating several nanoparticle vaccine candidates to select the most promising one to advance to clinical testing. 

Now what

If the late-stage results for NanoFlu are positive, Novavax will quickly file for U.S. regulatory approval of the vaccine. Until those results are announced, though, it's likely that this biotech stock will be highly volatile.